By Yanick Pouffary, Chief Technologist and Distinguished Technologist, HP Technology Services Networking
Almost everyone knows why we must move from IPv4 to IPv6: because we have run out of IPv4 Internet addresses, and we need the expanded, almost unlimited, address space of IPv6 for the Internet and Internet applications to grow. That’s the explanation IT usually presents to the business. So businesses see IPv6 as another IT plumbing initiative that will take time and money away from business innovation.
Yes, IPv6 is a foundational and transformational change to networking that will simplify the network and make it more flexible, but, like the web itself, it also opens the door to new ways to interact with customers and even new business models. That’s the discussion we should be having with business managers.
Everyone understands we have run out of IPv4 addresses, but have you stopped to consider the effects of the workarounds we have been implementing for years to circumvent the lack of available globally routable addresses? The IPv4 addresses for user devices — the PCs, smartphones and tablets our customers use to access the Internet — are often allocated on a temporary basis. And most clients hide behind middle boxes that use Network Address Translation (NAT) to translate their IPv4 local, non-routable private address for transmission over the Internet. As a result, Internet connections have to be initiated in only one direction — from the client. Think of it as waiting for your customers to call you. And they must go through a choke point of a phone operator.
Recently, when en route to the airport, I received a text message from the airline informing me that my flight was delayed. It was a one-way, text-only communication using the phone system’s short message service. If I had wanted to rebook my flight or even see what other options were available, I would have had to visit the airline’s web site and go through a lengthy rebooking process. What if the message I received on my smartphone had activated an app that also showed me rebooking options and let me select one by simply pressing a button?
That’s the kind of application and customer interaction IPv6 will enable. Because each device can have a global IPv6 address, IPv6 will enable clients to communicate end-to-end and become reachable to a new generation of applications enabling true two-way collaboration. That opens the door to completely new ways of interacting with customers in practically every industry and government.
It can also better enable an “Internet of things.” Increasingly, devices like automobiles, health monitoring systems, utility meters and even home appliances are becoming Internet enabled. By making these devices reachable and enabling two-way calling, IPv6 can change the way organizations and consumers interact with smart devices and enable them to do even more for us.
So we need to show businesses that IPv6 is not just an IT plumbing problem. It’s an opportunity to rethink how the business can collaborate with consumers to better serve their needs and to tighten the connection between the business and its customers. Businesses that understand this early and move quickly will gain competitive advantage. Those that don’t may be left waiting for their customers to call.
Learn how HP can help you capitalize on the IPv6 opportunity.
At HP Discover in Frankfurt in December, I talked with SDR News’ Andy McCaskey about the IPv6 transition:
Here are the slides I used in my Discover session about IPv6 transition strategies. I talked about the business and operational advantages of IPv6 and how organizations can achieve transformational benefits, and I gave an example of the introduction of IPv6 to an IPv4 campus network:
Read more about IPv6 in these previous blogs:
- Your Transition to IPv6: the Best Time to Get Started is Right Now
- Transitioning to IPv6 May Not Be as Hard as You Think
- Remembering a Pioneer of the Next-Generation Internet
- How Your IPv6 Transition Will Impact Applications
- IPv6 Transition—the Time Is Now!
- 5 Practical Reasons to Plan Your IPv6 Transition Early
Yanick Pouffary is a Chief Technologist and Distinguished Technologist within HP Technology Services Networking. She works with our customers to help them successfully adapt and take advantage of the changing world of Internet technology. Yanick is HP IPv6 worldwide global leader. As an IPv6 Forum Fellow and North American Task Force Director, she helps define the strategic, technical and economic direction of IPv6 in the context of innovative integration and social developments. She is a strategic advisor to governments and enterprises on the topic of IPv6 transition.